In recent days, Hurricane Harvey has flooded and washed away many businesses and homes, leaving over 30,000 people without a place to live. Being one of the only hotels with power, food and water in the Corpus Christi area during the hurricane, Hotel Corpus Christi Bayfront has stepped up and helped hundreds of people during this difficult time.
We caught up with Dee Dee Perez, the General Manager of Hotel Corpus Christi Bayfront to hear how they have been helping evacuees and ways others can help.
Zingle: How many evacuees of Hurricane Harvey have you housed?
Dee Dee: From Thursday, 8/24/17 through today, 8/31/17, we have housed over 650 evacuees, relief workers, emergency services, and the Secret Service Team from the Office of the President and Vice President of the United States which included the Official Advanced Staff, Communications, Security, and Operations. This was a such a surreal moment for me.
I was in contact with the Oval Office Advanced Staff for President Trump and Vice President Pence for over a week. It was the most intense situation I've ever been in my life. I was extremely nervous to accommodate these individuals.
All and all, they were all very warm and welcoming. They all worked with me as graciously as possible. Some of the Emergency Services included The Army National Guard of Texas, TEEX - Texas A&M University Engineers Emergency Service, U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers, HEB Relief Workers, Whataburger Relief Workers, Texas Parks and Wildlife, American Red Cross and many more from surrounding areas.
Zingle: How have you been able to help evacuees?
Dee Dee: We have mostly helped the evacuees with electricity, running water, and food. Most of the evacuees are from Rockport, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass, Portland, and some from Houston and surrounding areas. We have several that are going to be staying with us for months because they have lost their homes and everything in it.
Zingle: Are you currently taking in more evacuees?
Dee Dee: As we move forward and some evacuees regain electricity, they will move out of the hotel back into the homes if possible. Once this happens, the occupancy becomes available and we have a waiting list to contact more evacuees and Relief workers. It has truly been a learning process for me, the owners, and my staff. We are working very hard, 24/7, to make sure we help as many people and organizations as possible.
Zingle: What advice can you give to others on how to help victims of Hurricane Harvey?
Dee Dee: My advice to helping the victims from Hurricane Harvey is to donate to local organizations as much as possible. Money is always great, but these organizations are taking clothing, furniture, vehicles, and of course, food, beverages, and bottled water. Whatever can be done is greatly appreciated in all counties from Central Texas down to the Valley. We are a big state and very strong. We are staying Texas Strong!
I would like to send a HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL MY STAFF including my Managers, Priscilla Rodriguez, Front Office Manager, Erika Delgado, Front Office Manager, Reina Gonzalez, Front Office Manager, Virginia Garcia, Executive Housekeeper, Joe Garcia, Director of Operations, and Carina Powers, Downtown Coffee Manager. Also, we could not have done it without our Owners, The Markwardt Properties in San Antonio, Texas.